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Understanding factors that influence Unintentional Insider Threat: A framework to counteract unintentional risks

The exploitation of so-called insiders is increasingly recognised as a common vector for cyberattacks. Emerging work in this area has considered the phenomenon from various perspectives including the technological, the psychological and the sociotechnical. We extend this work by specifically examining unintentional forms of insider threat and report the outcomes of a series of detailed Critical Decision Method (CDM) led interviews with those who have experienced various forms of unwitting cybersecurity breaches. We also articulate factors likely to contribute firmly in the context of everyday work-as-done. CDM’s probing questions were used to elicit expert knowledge around how decision making occurred prior, during and post an unintentional cyber breach whilst participants were engaged in the delivery of cognitive tasks. Through the application of grounded theory to data, emerging results included themes of decision making, task factors, accidents and organisational factors.